Happy Friday and welcome back to The Weekly Download! Happy Chinese New Year to all our friends celebrating over the next sixteen days; 2021 marks the Year of the Ox and we wish you all the best in the year to come!

On the docket: Facebook adds new safety features to Messenger for #SaferInternetDay, Instagram tests a new TikTok-style feed, the best brand tweets of Super Bowl LV, and could an Apple Watch detect a COVID-19 infection before a positive test? New research says yes! Plus, we’re rounding things up with Friday Fun.

Facebook Adds New Safety Features to Messenger for Safer Internet Day

In celebration of Safer Internet Day, Facebook has added new safety and control options to Messenger, giving users more ways to easily manage who can contact them through the app.

In addition to the existing privacy and control options, Facebook has added three new tools to provide more control over its in-app Messenger experience: safer message requests, improved reporting, and more transparency in privacy settings to allow users to review accounts they’ve blocked.

According to Facebook, the team is constantly innovating to keep its community safe and secure, providing people with context and controls necessary to prevent or respond to unwanted interactions. 

Instagram is Developing a TikTok-Style Vertical Feed for Reels

Last week Instagram confirmed that it’s internally testing another feature that’s been “borrowed” from TikTok:

The vertical Stories feed will allow users to swipe up or down to view Stories – sounds a lot like the feed you see on TikTok, right?

The test reaffirms TikTok’s influence across social media platforms. What other TikTok features will be “borrowed” by some of our other favourite social media apps next?

The Best of Brand Tweets from Super Bowl LV

We all know one of the best parts of the Super Bowl is the ads. Twitter’s rounded up this year’s best brand tweets in one convenient spot. Here are some of the winners:

A New Study Finds Apple Watch Can Predict COVID-19 Diagnosis a Week Ahead of Positive Test

Are you a fan of wearable tech? There’s potentially even more reason to strap on your Apple Watch in the morning!

A new study from Mount Sinai researchers found that wearable hardware, specifically the Apple Watch, can effectively predict a COVID-19 diagnosis up to a week ahead of a PCR-based nasal swab test.

The “Warrior Watch Study” collected data over a number of months and focused on several hundred healthcare workers, tracking heart rate variability (HRV), which is a key indicator of strain on a person’s nervous system, among other significant symptoms.

According to researchers, findings can help anticipate outcomes and isolate individuals from others who are at risk. 

Friday Fun

Lawyer Gets Stuck in Cat Filter Mode During Zoom Trial

We’re only two months in but 2021 keeps getting weirder…

A technical mishap is making internet headlines this week after a Texas lawyer showed up as a cat during a Zoom trial. You just have to watch it for yourself:

The Weeknd’s Halftime Show in Memes

Did you catch the Super Bowl last weekend? Toronto’s own Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, performed at the halftime show, and the event led to lots of hilarious memes. Here are some of the best: